Three local volunteer leaders from AARP Massachusetts participated in the graduation ceremony Friday, Feb. 20, 2015, from AARP’s Volunteer Leadership Institute (VLI).
Jane Ahern-Defillippi of Melrose, Gloria Coney of Roxbury, and Gordon Mathieson of East Falmouth, were among 32 other exceptional volunteers from across the country.
VLI is a rigorous and innovative training opportunity launched by AARP in December 2012 to mobilize highly skilled and motivated AARP volunteers and take them to the next level of volunteer leadership. This third VLI class was designed and scheduled to appeal to the new breed of tech-savvy volunteer leaders, many of whom are still in the workforce. Participants met in person and online over a six-month period and used their new skills, techniques, and knowledge to work more effectively with their AARP state office or program partners as leaders of volunteer teams and in the community.
“Jane started as a volunteer with AARP Massachusetts in 2007 and has evolved into one of our most engaged and active volunteers,” said Mike Festa, state director of AARP Massachusetts. “Jane is on our Executive Council and is a very strong ambassador for AARP Massachusetts. She is a leader among our state’s many volunteers and is involved in advocacy, outreach, and social media efforts on our behalf.”
Learning with and from my VLI colleagues over the last five months makes me more energized to plan a continued presence for AARP in tabling events, Life Reimagined, and in advocacy efforts,” said Ahern-DeFillippi. “I am also looking forward to working with AARP Massachusetts chapters to enhance their community presence.”
“Gloria is known as a progressive leader in her community and has led her Grove Hall/Franklin Park AARP Chapter for the last two years,” said Festa. “She is a leader among our state’s many volunteers, and is involved in AARP’s age-friendly community work in Boston, as well as our Life Reimagined program.”
At the age of 76, I have experienced an unanticipated journey of discovery,” Coney said. “Back home within my chapter, I have been able to apply leadership theories which included the ‘aspirations’ activity shared during VLI trainings. I feel both renewed and ‘left at the water's edge’ upon completion.”
“Gordon is an engaging individual, passionate about AARP’s social mission, an implementer, and a seasoned professional with all of the requisite skills to be an outstanding volunteer leader,” Festa said. “Gordon is on our Executive Council and is a very strong ambassador for AARP Massachusetts. He is a leader among our state’s many volunteers and is involved in fraud prevention, advocacy, and outreach efforts.”
I am very grateful for this opportunity,” Gordon said. “ The VLI experience has provided the inspiration, knowledge and confidence for me to become a community leader and represent AARP’s mission.”
Richard Harwood, founder and president of the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, was a guest speaker at the graduation event.
AARP is one of the leading volunteer organizations in the nation, with more than 55,000 active volunteers. Earlier VLI graduates have made strides, taking on new responsibilities including serving on committees and task forces; representing AARP as subject matter experts at events and conferences; and reaching thousands of people through speaking engagements.